Understanding Risk of Recurrence in Colon Cancer

What do you tell your patients about risk of recurrence in colon cancer?

recurrence of colon cancerCancer patients are bombarded with information after their diagnosis. It can be a confusing time with a lot of material to remember. One thing you should pay close attention to is your recurrence score. This score tells you the likelihood your cancer will return. Dr. Kelly Shimabukuro explains what this means in this video. Knowing your chances will allow you to better prepare for the future. There are things you can do to lower your risk. Watch this video to learn more about the risk of recurrence in colon cancer.

Video Transcripts

Kelly A. Shimabukuro, MD: So, when I am explaining to patients about the risk of recurrence, I think of it as the risk that a person’s cancer will return and you know, it varies for different types of cancer, so like in breast cancer, we can sometimes see late recurrences. In, you know, colon cancer, when I am talking to patients, I generally tell them that if after five years, the cancer has not returned, it is unlikely that that particular cancer will recur and it is more likely that they could have a second cancer and so, the risk for recurrence is really the risk that their cancer will come back in any kind of defined period of time and then I also counsel patients about steps that we do to reduce the risk for recurrence and so for certain types of cancers that might be administering chemotherapy, in other types there might be giving radiation therapy.

The most important thing is because the risk of recurrence is there, it is going to be making sure that you keep routine followup with your medical oncologist and your oncology care team so that if the cancer does recur, it is caught potentially at a stage that would still allow for potentially curative interventions.

Kelly Shimabukuro
Dr. Kelly Shimabukuro is currently the Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego department of medicine. She specializes in the management of gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatobiliary cancer and anal cancer. She has a particular interest in hepatocellular cancer and is working closely with our multidisciplinary hepatology team in the management of these patients. She has specialized training in clinical trial design and implementation and is integrating this into her practice.

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